“In ten years, the whole energy industry will look completely different. First of all, utilities companies won’t be building these massive risk buffers into their prices anymore, so you’re going to be spending way less on your energy bill. Second, they’re already becoming more service-oriented. By 2020, I bet you’ll be buying your gas, electric, water, internet, phone, and television all from one service provider.”
This speculation was voiced by one startup presenter early in the morning on August 15, before the SAP Startup Forum in Berlin had even officially began. And it was indicative of the many conversations about the “future” of various industries – from retail to food to healthcare – that would take place throughout the rest of the day.
Thirty-five startups attended the event in Berlin to present their ideas for solving today’s business problems and explain how SAP HANA can help them to do so. It was the sixth such event to take place since March 7, when Palo Alto hosted the very first SAP Startup Forum (see the SAP.info article, “Up and Coming”). In the meantime, five other SAP Startup Forums have been held in Waterloo (Canada), Seattle, Tel Aviv, Beijing, and Bangalore, and there are several more still ahead.
39 startups now developing on HANA
The goal of these forums is to identify small companies that have great use cases for HANA, and provide them with the technological, financial, and expert support to bring their product to market. A panel of judges selects the most promising ideas from each event, and invites those companies to join the SAP Startup Focus program. There are currently 39 companies participating in the program, across several countries and numerous industries.
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What’s the incentive for SAP to run such a program? Aiaz Kazi, SVP Technology and Innovation Platform at SAP, explained: “A platform is only as good as the applications that run on it. SAP alone doesn’t have the capacity to develop the thousands of applications that HANA needs to be successful. Plus, we probably wouldn’t have the same diversity of really unique and interesting use cases that we get from startups around the world.”
That was certainly true in Berlin, where 17 different use cases for HANA were presented in just over two hours. The remaining 18 startups shared their ideas in a sort of “trade fair” at the end of the event, making this the most highly attended SAP Startup Forum thus far. “This is fitting, since SAP HANA was born just 20 miles away at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam,” said Cafer Tosun, SVP and managing director of the SAP Innovation Center at the HPI, in his opening keynote. “Close collaboration with HPI paved the way for HANA, and this area can be proud of that.” In continued support of SAP HANA, the SAP Innovation Center also sponsored the startup event in Berlin.
From individualized medicine, to food quality control, and image and music analytics – the proposed solutions varied widely. But almost every startup gave a similar reason for wanting to run their idea on HANA: faster results on more intricate analyses with more data. Here is an overview of just some of the projects:
A big data company for online and mobile games, they are specifically involved with free-to-play games, where players purchase virtual goods with real money. In order to turn users into paying customers, game companies need to understand player behavior and detect their purchase patterns.
Honeytracks offers a cloud-based big data solution that analyzes massive amounts of data generated through users’ online transactions to deliver these insights. And although it’s looking to improve its offering on the SAP HANA platform, Honeytracks isn’t shy about advertising its own cutting-edge technology.
This company uses next-generation DNA sequencing to predict whether a patient will respond to a given therapy. For cancer patients, 80 percent of which have no real clinical benefit from treatment, this is especially relevant. If doctors know ahead of time, whether a patient is likely to respond to a particular drug, they can eliminate ineffective treatments right from the start.
The challenge here – and the opening for SAP HANA – is the size and complexity of the data. A human genome represents 1-2 terabytes of data. Furthermore, results need to be delivered fast. Cancer patients don’t have the luxury of waiting weeks and months to receive their optimal therapy.
A smart grid integrator for companies in all industries, Acteno offers solutions for smart metering, load management, peak management, and bundled procurement. Customers get a mobile app to track their energy use across location, units, and equipment. They can see exactly how much energy each part of their business consumes in real time, and respond accordingly.
This company helps customers measure, analyze, and optimize their SAP systems. They track how employees use the software and assess the quality, efficiency, and cost of the application. This process involves analyzing a huge amount of information, since every line order item entered, every invoice created, is a separate variable.
This cloud-based application helps retailers share their environmental engagement with consumers in a mobile game. Users can check the green value of sustainable retail products via a mobile app. If they purchase sustainable product, they can add more green to their plot of land in the game.
Currently in the pilot stage, Myspotworld is not yet using SAP’s in-memory database. The startup is looking to switch to HANA in order to carry out the larger rollout it has planned.
This real-time predictive analytics provider puts predictive analytics right at the heart of the business process – so companies order the right quantities of a particular product right from the start.
In some areas, such as fresh food, there is a huge amount of data that goes into these analytics from internal and also external sources, like weather data and holidays. Steaks sell much more quickly on a holiday weekend in the summer than on a Tuesday in November, for example. Delivering these complex analyses fast is where HANA comes in.
Note on SAP Startup Focus program:
The startups that are chosen to participate in the SAP Startup Focus program have the opportunity to work with SAP HANA experts throughout the development stage of their product. But how does SAP support them when it’s time to bring the product to market? The final deployment and pricing models are still being determined, but Kaustuv Mitra, manager of the SAP Startup Focus program, shared the plans as they look today:
3 deployment options:
- SAP HANA, enterprise edition (deployed on-premise)
- SAP HANA deployed via the cloud (startup does the hosting)
- SAP HANA hosted by an third party (such as Amazon Web Services or other large hosting companies)
2 pricing options:
- Startups purchase SAP HANA up-front as a run-time license, but at a heavily discounted price. HANA is locked to the application.
- Startups license SAP HANA at NO up-front cost; in return, a percentage of each sale goes to SAP. (revenue sharing model)